Today at Coffee Time Romance we welcome author Tara Fox Hall. It was my pleasure to have a chance to interview Tara Fox Hall who is a prolific writer. She writes nonfiction, horror, suspense, erotica, contemporary, paranormal and historical romance …to name a few. Welcome to Coffee Time Romance, Tara!
What was it like when your first book released? Tell us about it.
I was amazed and excited and scared to death, all at once….and that was just for my first e-novella, Surrender To Me. When my first full length novel Lash released, I was terrified no one would like it, that readers wouldn’t identify with the protagonist enough to get past the terrible things he did. Then when people began to post positive reviews, I was thrilled and relieved.
It’s always nerve wracking when reviews come out. So what kind of books do you enjoy?
I tend to read thrillers and horror, but I enjoy most any genre. I have read westerns, action adventure, mysteries, thrillers, horror, fantasy, romances, and non-fiction. I like paranormal characters, but a book doesn’t have to be paranormal for me to enjoy it. In fact, most books in my TBR pile are non-paranormal.
Sounds like a good mixed TBR pile, a lot like mine too! What gave you the idea for the PROMISE ME? What sparked the muse?
I didn’t write my books with the intent that they would get published. I wrote them for my mom, because she was going through a bad illness, and I had told her I’d write her a novel one day. When she told me her doctor had said she had a year, max, I began Promise Me. I did nothing else but write it, revise, and write some more for the next six months. She didn’t find out she had been misdiagnosed for several months, and it took her another four months to get completely well. By that time, I had four books finished, so I decided to submit them to a friend of my husband who was an editor. She said they were interesting, but needed more work. So I began rewriting and revising. Five years later, Promise Me published.
The hardest part of Promise Me was getting my mom to like a book with vampires or shapeshifters in it. She is not a fan of vampires, or paranormal books AT ALL, and she is not really into romances, either. My initial simple plot of a loner vampire and lonely, resourceful heroine was rejected soundly. So I focused more on the characters, to make them as real as I could so that she could identify with the heroine Sarelle, and find the vampire Danial not only attractive physically, but also someone who was completely believable. I rewrote and rewrote, until I captured her interest.
Wow, what an absolutely inspiring reason for writing and I’m glad you’re mother pulled through, though sorry she was misdiagnosed.
PROMISE ME is the first book in the start of a series. Will PROMISE ME be a standalone in the series or will the series have main story arc through the books?
I am pleased to say, the Promise Me series has many story arcs. It is as close to life as I could make it. What I mean is that the characters are all going to learn and grow as the series continues. Some characters will die. Some new characters will be introduced. Not all characters are going to learn from their mistakes. Some have weaknesses that are going to be exploited, leading to their downfall. Others will try to resist temptation, with some succeeding and some not. Sarelle will have her heart broken, and learn to cope with the aftermath, and build a new life only to see that threatened. Some of her actions that seem harmless are going to have major consequences, good and bad. She will lose friends, and make new ones, face life and death decisions, and have to deal with the consequences. Everyone has decisions they regret making…there is no character in the Promise Me world that will not be able to say that by the series end.
That said…Promise Me has a HEA. A reader could stop there, and consider that the end of the story. The same is true for the upcoming Broken Promise. But by the third book, Taken in the Night, hopefully the reader will want to continue to know what happens. I often close with a major issue unresolved that the next book or books will deal with. For example, in Promise Me, Danial is clearly up to something with the potions he’s been taking. The answer is in the first chapter of Broken Promise (Promise Me Series Book #2).
Further, there is an unnamed older vampire who saves Sarelle from unwelcome attentions while she is abroad in Promise Me. Who he is and the effects of his interaction with her are a major factor in Taken in the Night (Promise Me Series Book #3) and later books.
I have to say I love series! Can you share an excerpt?
I looked up at Danial, breathing hard. “Done for the night?”
He bared his teeth, growled a little, and lunged at me, settling his body atop mine. I shrieked in delight before he cut me off with another deep, lasting kiss, molding our bodies tightly so I could feel the length of him against me. It was so much like the dream that I gasped. He pulled back to give me a smoky look, lightly tracing my jaw with a finger before bringing my lips to his again. His hand traveled down to cup my buttocks, pulling one of my legs over him, holding me tight against his leg.
I could feel him ready against me. I knew if I wanted, I could make the dream real. He wouldn’t turn me down. I ached with the need to feel him naked against me, moving in me. But, as good as it would feel, I didn’t want our first time together to end as the dream had, with me waking up and him gone. He’d said he had to leave before dawn.
Danial suddenly stopped still, as if he sensed my reservations. “What’s wrong?” he asked warily.
“I want you,” I said, gazing at him with heat in my eyes.
“I don’t see any problem with that,” he smirked, running his hand along the outside of my breast.
I closed my eyes, shivering deliciously, and tried to keep my mind on the words coming out of my mouth. “I need you to know something, Danial. I know you might not believe this, but I’ve never done this before.”
He pulled back from me. “I’m not sure what you mean.”
“I was married, before,” I said, raking my hand through my hair. “I’m not a virgin. But I’ve also never been so hot and heavy this soon with a man I only just met—”
“Sar, don’t feel like I’m pressuring you, or anything—”
“I don’t,” I said quickly.
“You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to,” he said seriously. “I can accept you saying no. I’m not going to be angry. It’s true you don’t know me well. I want you to know that I plan on getting to know you if you’re interested in spending more time with me.”
I swallowed hard. “Yes, I want to get to know you. Will you think badly of me if I’m honest with you?” I added in a small voice.
“If it’s the truth, no,” he replied, puzzled.
“I don’t want to wait weeks or months,” I said carefully. “Do you understand? I’m not saying no. I’m saying yes.”
The lust in his eyes deepened, and he moved to take off my shirt. I stopped him, and he gave me a questioning look. “Didn’t you just say—?”
“You said you had to leave soon. I want more than a few hours with you if it’s going to be our first time. I don’t want to wake up and find you gone.”
I thought he would be mad, maybe suggest a quickie and we’d do a longer version later, when we had time. But he surprised me.
“Yes, I want that, too,” he said, studying me. ”I don’t want to rush with you, or have to leave afterwards.” He stood and helped me stand. “Go to bed. I’ll see you on Friday. We’ll go out and have a good time. Saturday—” He pulled me to him. “—we’ll finish what we started here tonight.” He put his lips against mine hard enough to feel the pressure of his fangs. He broke away and kissed me on the forehead. “Dream of me,” he whispered, “and I’ll dream of you.”
I smiled. “Have a safe trip. Watch your back.”
“I have extra incentive,” he said, winking.
I turned to go, then hesitated. “Danial?”
“I need to know. Is there anyone...else? Anyone waiting at home for you while you’re here with me?” I felt a little strange asking now, when I’d pretty much already agreed to have a relationship with him. I tried to cover the awkwardness, looking down. “I should have asked before I even kissed you, but...”
He stopped me with a finger on my lips. “Shh, you don’t have to explain. I’m the one who suddenly feels awkward and cloddish.” He paused. “Sarelle, look at me.” I raised my head to meet his eyes. “There is no one but you. And I won’t be returning to anyone else should I return to home. There’s no one there, except security people.”
A wave of relief hit me, and then joy.
“I thought you knew that, but it was my mistake if you suspected otherwise. I should have told you the first night. I don’t have a wife or lover. I haven’t for a long time.”
I basked in the knowledge that he was all mine. But I had to ask “Why not?”
“My life isn’t something most women would embrace. Packing work and necessities into eight to ten hours doesn’t leave much time left to share with a friend or lover. The women I meet on the job are all career-oriented, with nine to five jobs. Trusting them with my life…I could never do it.”
He had a point there. It was probably easier for him to meet a woman and seduce her than it was for him to walk, but to find someone to trust who cared for him was probably hard. There weren’t a lot of options. The only reason he trusted me was because I’d saved his life when I could just as easily have taken it.
“I realize now that I should have asked you the same question. When I came into your life, did I interrupt anything? Did you have anyone?” He eyed me anxiously. “Do you have someone?”
“No. I’ve been alone for a year now.”
He heard the sad note in my voice but didn’t ask about it. “I’m glad. I dislike being the other man.”
I gave him a quizzical look.
He sighed. “I shouldn’t have said that. But I have trouble with women seeing me as more than a fantasy. I was a man before I became vampire. I want to be wanted for that person, not for being vampire.” He gave me a reserved look. “Be honest with me, Sar, are you saying you’ll sleep with me because I’m vampire? Is that the real reason you want to know me?”
I flushed. I tried to think of a good answer, but blurted out what I was thinking. “In part, yes, maybe. There’s something I find irresistible about you, and some of it might be what you are. But mostly, I like that you’re funny and intelligent. I find the real thing a little too real.” I flushed as I spoke, but since he was going to be blunt, so was I. “I don’t want you for your fangs. At least, not just your fangs.”
I thought I might have offended him, but he smiled and hugged me. “Good, because I don’t want you just for your blood. At least, not for that alone.”
You have another series connected to the same world, but set earlier. Can you tell us a bit about the LASH series?
The Lash series is an action adventure series which gives the history of the weresnake Lash, a character that shows up in the later Promise Me books. He is old when he appears in the Promise Me series, and not much is known about his earlier years, because he doesn’t give the information. He was terrific fun to write, and one of those characters that I wanted to know the backstory on, so I began telling his story. Unlike the Promise Me series, the story of Lash’s life is not a romance, but filled with action, adventure, horrific events, suspense, sex, and yes, a little bit of passion.
Do you write in silence, or do you have a playlist of songs? If you listen to music what kind of music inspired you to write PROMISE ME?
Usually I add in whatever songs I was listening to at the time, or because they are a favorite of mine, especially if a certain song inspired a certain scene. The songs “Lady in Red” by Chris DeBurgh, “Addicted to Love” by Robert Palmer, “Meet me Halfway” by Kenny Loggins, and “Iris” by the GooGoo Dolls all have lyrics that represented Danial and Sar’s relationship, either at the specific time they are mentioned, and/or as foreshadowing of events to come.
What is your favourite type of hero, barring your own? ;-)
I like a flawed hero, who struggles to do what is right. I don’t like perfect heroes, or stereotypical heroes with a tragic past that they lament about over and over through a whole book, then somehow the love of a good woman changes them in the last chapter. For example, I liked Bogart as a hero in film, because he frequently played a guy who was out for himself that grudgingly did the right thing. He never did an abrupt about-face in character, but instead did something out of character because he felt compelled to act. I believe that is why his movies like Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep, and To Have and To Have Not were so good.
Why do you like writing?
I like creating a world to lose myself in, which others can also lose themselves in, too. I want to move people, to make them feel something with my words.
How do you relax? What hobbies do you take part in?
I sew cat beds for animal shelters (and my own pets) and other charities, I knit, I watch movies, I garden, I read, and I craft. I like to paint (watercolors and regular paints) and draw, but that is so far down the list I do that once a year now, if that!
What’s the most important advice you can give to a newbie author?
Don’t give up.
Anything new in the works you want to share?
The sequel to my paranormal action adventure novel Lash, titled Shadow Man, will publish in late October, just in time for Halloween. The sequel to my vampire romance Promise Me, titled Broken Promise, will be out in late September, followed by the next sequel, Taken in the Night in January 2013. More sequels will follow in both series. Besides the horror and romance anthology Bedtime Shadows with Jenny Twist, there will be several other coauthored works, including a historical paranormal work with T. Fox Dunham, and a Lash crossover with the character Dick Dice with a fellow author and illustrator, Paul “Deadeye” Dick. I am a contributor along with another good friend, Tori Ridgewood, in a vampire anthology called Midnight Thirsts 2 that just released from Melange Books. Tori, T Fox., and I are also all contributors to a zombie collection called Quick Bites of Flesh due out this fall from Hazardous Press.
Do you have a day job and if so what do you do when you’re not writing?
I am a safety and health manager at a metal fabrication shop. Mostly it involves a lot of paperwork, and me reminding the guy making parts of safety rules to make sure there are no accidents. The descriptions of the metal shop in Promise Me are true to life, right down to the scent of burning metal that permeates the air.
Where can we find out more about you?
This interview :)
Just kidding. Here are my links:
Website | Tara's Blog | Tara's Facebook Page | Twitter
For info on my recently published books Lash and Promise Me, click here and here
Now for the fun questions I always ask.
What is your favourite colour? Black and gray are equally comforting.
What is your favourite drink? Dry red wine, like Shiraz or Malbec
What is your favourite food? Chocolate in all its forms
Trapped on a desert island what three movies would you take with you? What three books and what three fantasy men?
- The animated version of the Hobbit, The Dark Knight, and some video about how to survive in the wild, so I would be able to make a fire, make either a weapon or a tool to get food, and build a raft, in case I had to evacuate the island.
- I’d forgo books for a solar panel equipped laptop, because I can’t imagine never being able to write again and still be happy.
- I’d want Smoke Jensen from William Johnstone’s Mountain Man series, because he not only would be able to figure out a way off the island, he would be able to teach me anything I needed to learn about surviving before he left.
- I’d want Russell Crowe as Robin Hood, as I could definitely while away a few nights beside the fire with him.
- Last, I’d want the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man of Ghostbusters fame, as he would provide an endless supply of marshmallows for toasting, once Smoke and Russell had killed him. :)
ROFL, very witty answers. Thanks for letting me interview Tara.
If you’re interested in finding out more about Tara Fox Hall and her books please check out her website.